The formal criminal charge against a person which specifies the essential ingredients in regards to the alleged offence such as time and place and the relevant reference to the criminal law allegedly breached.
Also known as indictment or the information, the latter forming the complaint per se.
Criminal prosecuting agencies will often receive an information from a private citizen or a police officer in regards to suspected criminal activity and from that, if circumstances warrant, will issue a formal charge against the suspect; the latter, the accusation but often simply the information itself with or without further endorsement.
In Ballentine's Law Dictionary:
"Accusation: A declration or statement that another person is guilty of some offense or misconduct. A formal charge of the commission of a crime, such as a complaint, information or affidavit. Informing accused of nature and contents of charge."
In State v Kearns, Justice Bench wrote, at ¶15:
"Defendant has a constitutional right ... to receive a free copy of the nature and cause of the accusation filed against him. The State's obligation was met by providing a copy of the Information. There is no constitutional right to free copies of discoverable material not deemed constitutionally necessary to apprise Defendant of the particulars of the charged acts."
- Ballentine, James A., Ballentine's Law Dictionary, 3rd Ed. (Rochester: Lawyers Co-op. Publishing Company, 1969)
- State v. Kearns, 153 P. 3d 731 (Court of Appeals of Utah, 2006)
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